A new day and a new garden to explore. This time, a host of beads sprawled from vases stacked at various heights. Silver flower beads sat in a mass upon glass. Powder pink hydrangeas had a tinge of lime at the edges; she loved their delicacy. She'd spent a fair amount of time in enchanted gardens and knew that this for sure, was one to sample. A candyflossy taste came through as soon as a mini floret touched her tongue, with a zesty note hitting right at the end. She immediately felt lighter and looked forward to more to try.
She remembered how the roses looked stunning in the height of summer. Autumn had come through and they had taken on a new lease of life. Some might think life wasn't involved anymore, yet she believed there was. They hung delicately; dry chrysalides of purple, cream and pink. The petals began to disintegrate into a flurry of small confetti pieces. It was the season where all would start to fall and she made her peace with that. It was time for change. She watched entranced as a tiny blizzard of crisp petals swirled on the table top.
She noticed how a subtle cocoa scent wafted in the air. An array of chocolate beads sprawled out of the vases. There were milky orbs, dark chocolate discs and mocha morsels. She leant over and lifted a strand. Bringing it closer to her nose, the delicious aroma grew stronger; her sweet tooth kicked into action. It was time to take a bite of a sugary pyramidal stick. It was as decadent and rich as she had imagined. Well, she may as well sample them all. Chunky dunes tumbled on her tongue landscape. The white choc spheres were her favourite.
As if she hadn't indulged in the saccharine enough, she was guided from the chocs to the sweets section. She unwrapped foils of small silver beads. Inside were rose-syrup imbibed drops. The hard outer edge melted away to leave a light floral taste. She thought the glass tabs would continue the sugary theme. Oh, was she wrong. The hard-boiled shapes brought some unexpected sourness, as though cherries had decided to rebel against the sweet feast. A reminder that the balance will always be restored, in some shape or form.
She ate one of the purple ones. It was like an amalgamation of various berries she'd had in her life; it had the fragrance of blueberries, the sweetness of strawberries and the sharpness of blackberries. She was about to have another, when the crisp lilac roses began shaking in their vase. They were trying to get her attention. As she brought her hand close, a buzzing petal fell and fused with the berry. The taste was off the chain. She imagined an ultraviolet ether seeping through her veins. A feeling of vitality coursed through her.
Standing starkly green and proud within the muted landscape was the jade plant. Stalks extended and curved over to touch creamy white roses. The leaves were resplendent with moisture and they transferred it into the dry petals. Pulsating anew, the roses were taken back to summers spent on strong stalks, drinking in the sunshine. That brief throwback was all they needed, as the life liquid coursed back into the crassula. Nostalgia is beautiful thing, yet the roses didn't want to forgot all the splendour that surrounded them right now.
There was a luxurious draping of pearls over the table, where she lifted a long length. The rose inside the lidded vessel set off another frisson as the pearls drew themselves towards it. Almost in a magnetic fashion, they attached themselves to the outside of the glass. She opened the lid and placed the pearls inside. Almost instantaneously, the beads began to melt down and combine. A beautiful floral fragrance filled the air. She lifted her head and relished in the scent of the mixture. Who wouldn't want to bottle it and keep it with them?
She put some purple berries, petals and pearls into her pocket for another time. They'd be there for her when she wanted evocative flowers to revive her. We all had those moments. Yet right now, she was optimistic. Swirling a floret between her fingers. she knew this was how she wanted to spend her time. She reflected on how her current life interlocked with the past. She knew she couldn't stay chained to certain moments any longer. Those links had to come apart and she was making peace with that. There were new bonds to form.
Stepping out into the wilderness felt like wandering onto a painter's palette. Nature served up shades of yellow first: thin pressed petals, hearty clusters and hazy blobs. The small eye-catching buds of achillea reminded her of lichen spreading across textured bark. When she saw such fascinating flowerheads, she always imagined herself being shrunk to a miniature scale. She would hop across each spongy pad with laughter; the bright landscape luring her in to explore further. She had a feeling she'd be leaving this place sated.
When she went very close to observe, the wind flapped a delicate poppy petal onto her lip. She moved her head back to find a subtle tingle where it had. She touched her lip to find a a lipstick-like smear on her fingertip. Retrieving her compact mirror from her pocket, she watched as her entire lips turned the same shade of red. It was unexpected, yet a pleasant surprise. She knew this wasn't a garden like any other and to leave room for enchantment. After all, how long would the spell last? It was time to appreciate magic while she could.
Borage hung like brushstrokes frenetically painted around poppies. Their fuzzy stems looked touchable, but she decided not to. She didn't know enough about this flower and a previous accidental brush with furry stalks turned out to be nettle; she definitely didn't want that sensation again. There were times when the foliage reached the sky. Above her, peachy petals fanned out like light sconces upon stalks. They radiated a peaceful energy and she really felt it when darkness began to descend. A fairy light glow to line her path.
A tiny pond. She placed her face underwater to see an abundance of spores open and close, open and close. Small sea anemone flexed their little floral buds. It was a constellation of creamy stars. She retrieved her head and gasped at the awe of it all. A huge leaf unravelled itself beside her. It had a towel-like texture and she got the impression it was there to dry her face. She was hesitant, yet she got the vibe that this fuzzy leaf wouldn't do her wrong. She brought the leaf closer and her face was cradled in its comforting warm surface.
The orangey-red florets of the crocosmia drew in insects from afar. The wasp relished in the nectar and sighed with happiness. After it had whizzed away, she ran her fingernail over the ascending petals. A symphony of notes played. She pinged a little one at the edge of the scale and flitted between each one. The sound changed in depth and she found herself ping some more to play a melody. The wasp found itself zoom back and hovered near the large, open flowerheads. It bopped in the air, appreciating the sweet sounds.
Down the path, a textured stalk was topped with a translucent white poppy. It fanned open by way of greeting her. She noticed the rich aubergine shade seeping into the white. Her index finger gently pressed the velvety surface. With that tiny touch, her finger nail coursed with colour to turn the same deep shade of purple. She gasped, glancing at this now-painted nail from all angles. She tentatively dabbed her other fingers onto the petal and found each one transform into matching dusky gradients. Instant manicure.
The starburst plant exploded as she walked past and she cupped her hand beneath it. The seeds began to dance in her palm. The stalks were still connected to the tiny black seeds and as they moved, she saw the transference of tiny smudgy trails on her skin. Ah, the perfect kohl. She retrieved her compact mirror again, lifted a stem and with a sweeping motion, lined her eyes with the rich black pigment. She also noticed her red poppy lip stain had disappeared. That must've happened when wiping her face with the absorbent leaf.
A slight gust blew and she saw the zinnias and dahlias release a soft powder. She went to tap each one and found dusty tendrils float into the air, catching the light. Her hands glistened in the sun from where the tiny iridescent specks had landed. There was no need to look any further for the perfect highlighter. She rested on her knees to tap the zinnia ball onto her collarbone. A bronze-tone shine came to dress her skin. The powder puff of a dahlia pressed a dewy pinkness onto the apples of her cheek. She felt ethereal.
Fluffy fleurs huddled together on a green carpet, spanning out across the field. These little pink flashes were statement pink lashes. Oh, it was time to get experimental with her look. She carefully prised a strand to find it peel off in a continuous strip. They had an almost magnetic pull towards her eyeliner. She audibly gasped when the lengths merged with her existing dark eyelashes. They took centre stage, long and luscious. She blinked to find this colour frame her view. Anyone would think she was turning into a flower fairy.
All this movement and energy around her was exciting. The citrus palm splayed its fronds, shimmying its leaves. Lilac globes swivelled on their stalks, resembling tiny worlds spinning on a finger. It was a frenzy of activity. This feeling seeped into her being. She inched towards the yellow poppy and picked a papery petal. A golden shimmer spread across her eyelid and then she swiped it across the other. The look was complete. She was happy to let the botanical hues last as long as they chose to. It was time to let the sunshine in.
All photos taken at the Cambridge Botanic garden.
Before she knew it, the warmth of summer had rolled around again. She had missed it. She usually does, yet it's arrival this time felt particularly comforting. Her renewed sense of purpose was invigorating. Splashes of colour lay on a palette; the subtle melding of a rainbow. A vase looked like clay had been squished with a fist. Reaching magenta petals dotted the backdrop. Her eyes drank in the details. It had to be the vibrant dandelions which she spotted first. They shimmied on the table, with tinsel-like blooms picking up the sun rays.
The geranium leaves waved hello, with roots ready to sink into the wood. Nature had spray-painted them with a soft arch of dark green. She imagined how they would span and fan out larger, with trademark coral flowers coming through. Sprinkles of the earth were scattered around, ready to accommodate this growth. Next to them, a solitary leaf sat in a small vessel. It felt complete as an entity. How it stood proudly, regardless of who would notice it amongst the rest of the surrounding splendour. It was harmoniously in sync with all.
Lots of little empty vessels were poised as sculptural objects, excited to have nature drape from within. They wondered if it would be fruits, flowers or straight-up foliage. The pineapple bent its ear to hear what the dandelions had to say. They spoke of summer days and feeling light. Light-hearted and drifting, as the soft breeze would come to lift them. They would graciously accept this different form. Tiny, fluffy seeds would carry ideas into new soils to root. Even so, they were content to be in their splendid state of shine, right now.
She glanced from above, to appreciate all from a bird's eye view. From this angle, the pots looked like an abundance of eyes looking back at her, pupils diving deep into her thoughts. The geometric nature of the agavoid entranced her. It's symmetrical leaves were a plant dream-catcher, capturing anything that didn't enlighten her. The patterns were in harmony with that of the universe. She thought about her dreams and all around her that felt out of reach, yet in her minds eye, it was more than real. It was possible. It was happening.
She pondered on how the dandelion came to gain its name and how the leaves apparently resembled the teeth of a lion. Dent-de-lion. They really ought to have given some credit to the sunny sparklers atop the stem too. Her glance fell upon the blooms to their left and she smiled. Her much loved callas had come to say hello. They were welcome to do so at any time. The crassula ovata beamed, with sunset yellow lining the leaves. Left to sit in the sun longer, the brightness would become more prominent. She knew about that.
The glaucous leaves of the echeveria fanned out from the glossy blue vessel. Bright pink roses sang a melody to the chrysanthemums. It was a flower party and there was a lot to be said. Foliage felt like the mutual friends that knew everyone, flitting between the entire scene. Myriad succulents filled the terrarium on the table. The striped haworthia was definitely one of her favourites. Her eyes gazed along the miniature carpet of sempervivum within the wooden vessel. The blending of deep red and green buds was a delight to see.
The interactions between all pleased her. A friendliness hummed. She felt like talking to the roses. She'd heard from the the callas many a time and they directed her this way. She wanted a different perspective on life. They stood elegantly on their strong stems, welcoming and down to earth. They had a way of leaning into any conversation with grace. It was a soothing chat about nurturing velvet petals and unravelling vivid skies, so that they'd wrap around her. She was more than capable of bringing everything she wanted to the table.
She loved spending time in the garden. All those seeds the size of dust had potential to sprout into grand beauties. Flecks of hope and potential, she mused. Her finger gently brushed a spot of the earth, creating a minuscule crater. She held the tiny dots in her palm and carefully dropped them in. A quick covering over, in case the wind had other ideas and her dreams were embedded. There was real scope to root. Purple blazing stars sparked into life. Watery ink seeped through the paper-like pansies and an ochre dot painted the centre.
Petite petals looked like little paper hearts affixed with a pin. She could hold one stem in her hand, blow and watch it twirl in a pinwheel motion. Hydrangeas looked glorious in all shades, from soft pinks to rich blues. The pansies made another appearance in vibrant yellows and purples. These alluring colours continued to draw her in. Beautiful orange ruffles gathered as though they were shaved from the orange sun itself. She found herself becoming fascinated by the variety of different marigolds there were in the world.
She walked round and felt as though someone had left her a large gift box. She knelt down to appreciate the goodies within. Her eyes widened as she spotted those familiar callas, swirling away. Edges blended from a milky cream to a rich purple. That paintbrush had made its way around again and was dipped in white paint this time. Some carefree splattering had taken place, as the leaves were left with a terrazzo feel. Crinkly gladioli blooms sat stacked above one another, appreciating the refreshment of light rain.
She entered the fragrant corner, where stalks sat with tight French knots within the lavender tapestry. Her glance was captured by an abundance of wispy tendrils, which spun around the other lengths. Miniature sweet pea purses were filled with a captivating scent. They gladly opened their silk petals to share. She reached out to run her finger over the wavy edges, which responded by dancing around her touch. She imagined the stems continuing to grasp and grow, until the length of the wall was covered in a plethora of delicate buds.
Ixia flowers emerged alike white clams sprayed with a magenta core. The colour extended to a beam on the external petals too. There was a mesmerizing quality to them. Strawberry & cream-swirled dahlias looked too tempting not to try. She picked off a petal and relished in the sweetness of the flavours. A cluster of geranium petals burst into an expanse of coral forms. Gentle veining echoed in a deeper shade, like tributaries coursing through a sandy pink beach. She could sit and admire the richness of the hue for a while. So she did.
The foxgloves glowed in the evening sun. The circular patterning in their bells reminded her of paint she poured in layers. A network with tiny cells would magically occur as the liquid dispersed throughout the surface. She'd spent the day admiring the little details and soon registered the sun had set. Her focus shifted to white stars, ready to pierce the dusky evening. Shapes carved from mother of pearl sheets; just in time to dance with the moon. These moments in bloom made her feel simultaneously sedate and awoken.
Let's sail away, she thought and explore tuft islands. She'd heard so much. What was to be seen there? First, she had to pass the expanse of grey seas. They were as far reaching as she could see. Moments of carefree drifting took place. There wasn't anything else in sight for some time until up ahead, the silhouette of small mountains appeared. She must've been on the right track. As she edged closer, the small mounds came into view and even though she hadn't stepped onto soil yet, she appreciated how far she'd already come.
This was her chance to go somewhere with no expectations. These islands appeared to glide across the stone, ever drifting before her. After coursing the grey seas, it was only expected she should run into some thorny issues. A structure appeared to emerge from the stone itself; heaving brown beams studded with jagged edges. Nothing would deter her. She showed expert balance along it, weaving around the spiked protrusions. She really didn't need a wound which would inhibit the rest of her journey. She was just getting started...
No man is an island, so they say. These solo moments made her. She knew down the line, she'd be able to relish in the island being further inhabited, yet she was content with how it was now. It was important to focus on now. It was time to scale the structure. She placed her hand into the cracks and found a good grip. Climbing onto the wall, she found other grooves to nestle her foot into and propel herself up. She reached the top and took a deep breath. The roots of the floating islands dangled above her, swaying in the wind.
She stood on a slab dotted with multiple stones in shades of terracotta, grey and brown. She had conquered the branch so this should be a walk on the beach, It felt like it. The stones looked like they'd spent years underwater, being cut and shaped by the powerful waters. She ran her hand along the surface of the porous grey one. She imagined it homing life. If it was on a seabed, tiny fishes would bob their heads out of the little holes to see what the sea brought today. The seas brought her today. They let her arrive at a place of a new outlook.
She stepped out past the rocky field to find herself tangled in a mass of spindly branches. She wondered how she'd navigate her way through this one. A rocky surface looked like it had been eroded to its core over millennia. The inner red core resembled another galaxy. Tiny cream fragments were woven into the structure, like milky moon rocks. She leant against it, to shimmy her way through the confusion. Finally, she came into a clearing. Lime green shoots shot into the air, with yellow jolts acting as beacons in the sky.
She'd reached the last leg of her adventures for this day. Many summits had been reached. A final scaling of the precarious claw branch led to making it here. She carefully mounted the mossy overgrowth to become entwined in many saffron-hued stalks. The thin hairlike lengths featured an amber lantern at every end, illuminating the way to the top. It was time to relish. The zesty green leaves in the centre were perfect to hold on to as an anchor. She stood and gazed at the horizon. It was a moment to appreciate conquering mountains.